We at Community Conservation are proud of our track record of helping communities protect habitat all around the world. Here’s what we’ve been working on.
The First Community Conservation Project
Community Baboon Sanctuary
Location: Bermudian Landing, Belize
Target Species: Black Howler Monkey
Status: Established (Sustained by Local Leaders)
The Community Baboon Sanctuary was the first conservation project initiated by Dr. Rob Horwich and Dr. Jon Lyon, the two scientists who later joined forces to form Community Conservation. Created in 1985, the Community Baboon Sanctuary (CBS) was a truly innovative solution to the conservation of private lands. It has become a conservation model that has spawned a new wave of community conservation projects in Belize and internationally.
CBS, co-founded by Dr. Horwich and local landowner and community leader Fallet Young, links habitat protection for the endangered black howler monkey (locally referred to as baboon) with the human community’s need for land management and livelihood activities. The main goal of this project was local protection of the black howler monkey (Alouetta pigra) and its habitat through encouraging a stewardship ethic among landowners. It involved the participation of seven villages and over 120 individual landowners.
In addition to the local protection of the howler monkeys, the Community Baboon Sanctuary has spread interest in howler protection country-wide. The CBS has donated howler monkeys for a reintroduction program in the Cockscomb Basin of Belize, and also contributed howler monkeys for another smaller release in the Cayo District of Belize. The existence and maintenance of the sanctuary has also encouraged a great deal of research focused on the howler monkeys, the forest, the Central American river turtle, and the incredibly diverse bird community of the area.
In 2018, the museum located at the sanctuary was renamed “The Robert Horwich and Fallet A. Young Natural History Museum” in honor of its co-founders. The sanctuary is successfully managed by the CBS Women’s Conservation Group, a committee of women leaders from the seven communities that make up the sanctuary.
Projects in Progress
Community-managed Ecotourism Preserve
Location: Quijos, Ecuador
Target Species: Andean bear, mountain tapir, bird biodiversity
The village of Sumaco, Ecuador lies in the heart of three globally important protected areas on the Eastern slope of the Andes, with lush forests that many vulnerable and threatened species such as mountain tapir and Andean bear call home.
The people of Sumaco have started to express interest in becoming actively involved in conservation. The government in Ecuador has recently passed a law creating a new type of wildlife reserve – one that communities themselves manage. This is an exciting opportunity, however, the government does not provide funds to help local people with the extensive and complicated work required in order to do it.
So in partnership with local leaders, we are helping to provide the community with a complete training that would give them the information they need in order to launch a new wildlife reserve.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the area faced food insecurity, so funds from Community Conservation Inc. were used to build community-scale organic gardens.
Protected Area Community Trainings
Location: Indawygi Lake, Myanmar
Target Species: Eld’s Deer, Star Tortoise and others
Current Status: In Progress
Under the lead of Dr. Teri Allendorf, Community Conservation is in the midst of a project aimed at involving local communities in the management of 21 protected areas throughout Myanmar.
An incredibly biodiverse country, Myanmar has recently opened to the world and funds are being invested to establish protected areas. It is a critical time to develop a national strategy for Myanmar so that the voices of local communities are included in this process.
In order to do this, we are piloting models of collaborative conservation activities around protected areas in Myanmar through a series of community conservation trainings for people who live near the protected areas. The trainings take place in partnership with local Burmese conservation organization Friends of Wildlife.
We are also preparing a set of recommendations about how best to include community members in protected area management, to be delivered to the government of Myanmar. These pilots will serve as models at a national level for how to improve community livelihoods while also limiting threats to biodiversity.
See a video about this project here.
Longhouse Community Forest Management
Location: borneo, Malaysia
Target Species: bornean orangutan
Status: IN Progress
Borneo, Malaysia is a biodiversity hotspot, treasured by people all around the world for its abundance of wildlife, including orangutans. For four years, the Smithsonian Institution, student fellow Olivia Cosby, and Sarawak Forestry Corporation have been working on wildlife surveys in Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Borneo.
Local men from the longhouse communities have been participating in Olivia’s research as hired wildlife monitors, doing much of the camera trapping.
Community Conservation is partnering with Olivia and the Smithsonian on this work, overseeing community conservation activities and facilitating workshops for Iban farmers and protected area staff. First, we will be conducting camera trap training sessions geared towards the women so that the camera trapping will be an economic opportunity for them as well as the men.
Read more about this project here.
Cross River Gorilla Conservation
Location: Cross River Region, Cameroon
Target Species: Cross River Gorilla
Status:On Hold (due to political unrest)
In December of 2016, former Executive Director Rob Horwich traveled to Cameroon, along the Cameroon/Nigeria border. His goal there was to work together with our partners in the field to protect the critically endangered Cross River gorilla. A subspecies of the lowland gorilla, only 200-300 individuals of the Cross River gorilla live today. For this reason, Community Conservation’s work in Cameroon is vital to the survival of this important species.
In Cameroon, Rob and our Community Conservation partners in the field, including the staff of the Resource Center for Environment and Sustainable Development, met with villagers to begin the process of mapping, designing, and implementing the designation of a Community Forestry Area to protect habit for the gorillas. The initial meetings with the villagers produced excitement and much willingness to take the steps to designate and manage a reserve.
Unfortunately, political unrest has made it currently too dangerous to continue our efforts. We are monitoring the political environment and, when safety allows, we will continue to work with our partners in Cameroon and support the villagers in their efforts to create the reserve and protect gorillas.
(c) Neotropical Primate Conservation
Spider Monkey Research and Action
Location: Pacific Coast of Colombia
Target Species: Colombian Black Spider Monkey
Current Status: In Progress
Community Conservation also is involved in another partnership with Neotropical Primate Conservation with the goal of conserving the habitat of the Colombian Black Spider monkey. The spider monkey is endangered, so it is crucial to work with the people living on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, the only place where the species is found.
This project launched in 2018 and the work is ongoing. Educational programs are being conducted with adult villagers, children at the local schools and young adults at area universities. Also, fieldwork is documenting and mapping the species so that mammalogists can better understand the needs of these monkeys. In addition, agreements are being facilitated between government bodies, indigenous communities and project partners to make further study and an action plan possible.
Location: Eastern Terai landscape, Nepal
Target Species: Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Sloth bear, and others
Status: In Progress
In 2012 and 2013, Community Conservation founder Rob Horwich and CC board member and long-time Nepal researcher, Dr. Teri Allendorf, coordinated a workshop in a village adjacent to Chitwan National Park. This workshop trained community members to help with management and monitoring of Bengal tigers. Since then, Community Conservation and our local partners, Green Society Nepal and the Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, have focused on creating a wildlife corridor in the eastern forests of Nepal.
Our vision is a corridor of safe habitat for large mammals and other wildlife, which will allow them to travel back and forth between large protected areas. This corridor would help many animals, to thrive and increase their populations, including large iconic species like tigers and elephants.
We have been raising awareness of the corridor concept, as well as wildlife conservation in general, among community forest groups in the area. With our local partners, we have been conducting trainings on technology such as camera traps and GPS so that the community forest groups can begin to monitor the wildlife in their forests.
See an update about this project here.
Projects that are Now Self-Sustaining
Golden Langur Conservation
LOCATION: MANAS BIOSPHERE RESERVE, INDIA
TARGET SPECIES: GOLDEN LANGUR
STATUS: ESTABLISHED (SUSTAINED BY LOCAL LEADERS)
In 1997, Community Conservation initiated The Golden Langur Conservation Project to protect the golden langur within its Indian range. CC partnered with Nature’s Foster and Green Forest Conservation to work to protect habit for this endangered species. Each of the organizations focuses on sections of the golden langur range and on specific aspects of conservation of habitat, while all working closely with the villages within their focal areas.
The golden langur is endemic to western Assam and southern Bhutan, meaning it exists nowhere else in the world. Having lost much of its habitat due to deforestation and other types of habit destruction, the primary area where the golden langur still exists is within the Manas Biosphere Reserve. This important reserve lies in lies in the western region of the state of Assam.
The forests of the Manas Biosphere Reserve have been threatened by illegal logging since the early 1990s. But now, local people are working as forest guards and are integral in protecting the habitat.
Watch a video summary of the Golden Langur Conservation Project here.
Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program
LOCATION: HUON PENINSULA, MOROBE PROVINCE, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
TARGET SPECIES: MATSCHIE’S TREE KANGAROO
CURRENT STATUS: SELF-SUSTAINING
The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) was started in 1996 by Dr. Lisa Dabek as part of her graduate research project on Matschies’s Tree Kangaroo. Dr. Rob Horwich met Dr. Lisa Dabek at a conference in 2001 and began a three year partnership (2001-2004). Dr. Horwich and Community Conservation researched legal mechanisms for conservation and interviewed other organizations about their conservation approaches. The underlying goal was to empower landowners to make informed decisions about the type of conservation practices and areas they wish to establish. This allowed TKCP to support local communities in the conservation of tree kangaroo habitat and develop initiatives focused on community health, livelihood, and education.
TKCP is still very active and continues to collaborate with local communities to protect the forests of the Huon Peninsula for the benefit of the Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo and local communities.
Primate Habitat Conservation
Location: Huallaga-Maranon, Peru
Target Species: Yellow-tailed Wooly Monkey, San Martin Titi Monkey, Peruvian Night Monkey
Status: Established (Sustained by Local Leaders)
Community Conservation’s work in Peru to protect habitat of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) is directly tied to our relationship with Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC), an extremely effective group that has been working in the Peruvian rain forest for over 15 years. Through our partnership with NPC, we have worked to create forest reserves managed by the local farmers. Community Conservation helped NPC to expand the project into 8 additional local communities to create a network of community-run conservation reserves. These reserves lie within the Huallaga-Marañon landscape, a region of primate endemism somewhat isolated by the Huallaga and Marañon Rivers, which covers over 70,000 hectares. The original project activities focused on the protection of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey have expanded, because of their successful outcomes, and now also focus on the San Martin Titi monkey (Callicebus oenanthe) and the Peruvian night monkey (Aotus miconax). The project aims to encourage communities to get governmental recognition to create protected areas to connect landscapes.
Community-based Forest Protection
Location: Gishwati-Mukura National Forest, Rwanda
Target Species: Golden Guenon monkey
Status: Established (Sustained by Local Leaders)
Rob travelled with Dr. Peter Clay to a rain forest fragment located in western Rwanda, home to the endangered golden guenon (golden monkey). There they worked with local partner Forest of Hope Association (FHA) and hosted a series of community meetings, attended by over 500 people. These meetings excited lots of interest in voluntary, community-based conservation and livelihood activities, and helped lay the groundwork for later community-based forest protection work led by FHA.
CC also helped design and conduct a population survey of endangered golden guenon monkeys in Gishwati along with Dr. Rebecca Chancellor, and partially funded forest guardians during a transitional time just before Gishwati-Mukura National Forest was established.
Forest of Hope Association is still very active in the area. They reduce conflicts between people and the forest, encourage local livelihood activities (such as traditional dances and beekeeping) and help facilitate research on the forest.
Kickapoo River Museum
Location: Gays Mills, Wisconsin, USA
Target Species: Biodiversity of the Driftless Region
Status: Established (Sustained by local leaders)
Community Conservation has our very own museum in Gays Mills, the Museum of the Kickapoo. This small but friendly museum serves as an important educational resource focused on the distinctive and unique geology, flora, fauna, and character of the Kickapoo River. The museum is housed in the building that housed the old mechanical workings of the dam on the river in Gays Mills. The waters still slip quietly over the spillway, but the hydroelectric power-generating role of the dam is long faded into the rich web of Driftless area history.
The museum was heavily damaged by the massive flooding in Gays Mills during the summer of 2018. Many of the exhibits were destroyed but some survived. Luckily, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, the exhibits were moved to a new location (the Kickapoo Exchange Coop building) and the museum reopened for summer 2019. Unfortunately the exhibits were more damaged than they had appeared, and the two remaining exhibits are currently on display at the Gays Mills Mercantile.
Other Wisconsin Projects
Over the years, Community Conservation has supported and helped catalyze various other conservation initiatives near our headquarters in Wisconsin. These are just a few of the groups we’ve been involved with. We’re proud to have been a part of several of these important groups’ successes.
Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance
Kickapoo Valley Reserve
Blue Mounds Project
Ferry Bluff Eagle Council
Valley Stewardship Network
Kickapoo Organic Resource Network